Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Kana Phung, Senior Producer at Havas

Kana Phung is the Senior Producer of Brand Experience & Events at global media agency Havas, where she has worked on building the experiential arm of the business.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Just like anyone trying to get into the Events industry, the options are endless but also very broad. The first turning point of my career was discovering experiential marketing. It was definitely something I didn’t learn in university.

So I was taught from the ground up about working in agency land and I’ve been very blessed to have had the opportunity to work on campaigns across Australia for FMCG, consumer tech, tourism and healthcare clients.

The second turning point was four years ago, arriving at my current agency to rebuild the experiential arm of the business. We’ve rapidly grown the division to become a full production house specialising in Brand Experience, Photography, Videography, Technical Writing, Digital and Design.

My role (Senior Producer) focuses on bringing brands, people and culture together to create meaningful brand experiences. The next step forward will be to identify new opportunities with parent company Vivendi (Universal Music, Gameloft, Canal+, Dailymotion) to harness the power of entertainment as well.

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2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Pre-pandemic, I would be enjoying Spotify playlists, podcasts and catching up on Twitter News feeds during my hour-long commute before facing the “but first, coffee” conundrum.

When it’s time to work, every day is different for me. Lots of meetings, production management, activating campaigns (being on-site) and the occasional travel to wherever the work takes me.

That’s super topline!

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Working in a production-based role means we’re more likely to be clocking ridiculous hours in the form of long days, early mornings, late nights and weekend work. Sometimes a combination of all of the above! So, it’s a given that we need to allow ourselves to rest.

Thankfully, I get to work in a company that provides time in lieu, work-from-home days and flexible work hours to staff as a start. Take these when you can because, well, you deserve it! Also, sleep. How great is sleep?!

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

It was only in the last year that I was able to fully dial down the “hustle mode” that controlled me for years. I was able to give myself a chance to rest through travel and enjoy hanging out with friends and family without guilt.

Work-life balance is a juggle AND struggle, but overall, I’m just trying to be present and not blend work into my personal life.

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

Organisation – a quality that’s inevitably built into production specialists. We’re all about planning ahead and being prepared. No surprises, please. Unless it’s cake and booze, then perhaps.

If you struggle with confidence and self-belief like I do, try to align yourself with people who believe in you. These will be the legends that help you strive for success and determine where you want to be both professionally and personally.

6) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Be present in the moment that matters at the time – work, time with friends, family, hobbies etc. They each get their stage to shine in my day.

7) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Eric Nam. Singer-songwriter based in Seoul and LA. Gave up his successful career in Financial Advisory to pursue music and entertainment. Luckily, he did very well for himself!

Eric does so much more in between that there’s probably not a proper bio out there, but I could listen to him speak about his music, life and food adventures all day.

8) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t try to do everything yourself.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.